Around the World

News from around the globe impacting your world.

Ecuador Expels US Ambassador. The government of Ecuador has declared Susan Hodges, the U.S. ambassador to the small Andean country, a "persona non grata," demanding the envoy leave over disparaging remarks made by her about the country's police chief, Jaime Hurtado Vaco. The remarks were revealed in the leaked Wikileaks cables. The full story in the Los Angeles Times.

Germany's Free Democrats Select a New Leader. The pro-business Free Democrat Party (FDP) have selected Philipp Rösler to replace outgoing party leader Guido Westerwelle. Rösler, 38, was born in Ba Xuyen Province in 1973 in what was then South Vietnam and adopted by a German couple at the age of nine months. Rösler, a physician, currently serves as the Health Minister in Chancellor Merkel's cabinet. He is expected to retain that post and not assume the post of Foreign Minister that Mr Westerwelle held. The FDP has been in a free fall ever since Westerwelle led the FDP to its best-ever general election results in September 2009 when it garnered 14.6 percent of the vote. Since then however, the FDP has had disastrous losses in three major state elections in Saxony-Anhalt, Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. Under Westerwelle, the FDP came to be seen as a party predominantly focused on getting tax breaks for its core corporate constituency. More from Der Spiegel.

Inflation Pressures in Emergent Asian Economies. Asia's emerging economies, a diverse group of economies that includes China, India, Azerbaijan, Thailand and Fiji among others, are expected to grow 7.8 percent in 2011 and 7.7 percent in 2012, robust rates albeit slower than the 9 percent seen in 2010, the Asian Development Bank said in its latest Asian Development Outlook report. At the same time, inflation is expected to quicken to an average 5.3 percent this year from 4.4 percent in 2010, before easing to 4.6 percent in 2012, the ADB said. Some countries such as Vietnam and Pakistan could see inflation rates climb well into the double digits. More from Reuters India.

In related news, China's central bank increased interest rates on Tuesday for the fourth time since October, raising suspicions that data next week may show inflation rose more than expected in March. China is due to report the March consumer price index on April 15. Economists expect the data to show that consumer inflation rose to 5.1 percent in March, matching a 28-month high seen in November. China has set a 4.0 percent target for inflation in 2011.

India Bans Japanese Food Imports. India has imposed a three-month ban on imports of food articles from the whole of Japan on fears that radiation from an earthquake-hit nuclear plant was spreading to other parts of the country, becoming the first country to introduce a blanket ban.

Negotiations Ongoing in the Côte d'Ivoire. France and the United Nations forces continue to prepare the framework for strongman Laurent Gbagbo's departure after air strikes prove decisive in battle with opposition. The crisis has sent 130,000 refugees across the border into Liberia, displaced up to a million people internally and set a toll which is expected to rise sharply from the 1,300 deaths reported so far. More from All Africa.

Germany's Political Realignment

Despite her Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union alliance's worst electoral showing in its history, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has emerged triumphant in Germany's parliamentary elections. Call it winning by losing. Chancellor Merkel will now seek to form a new center-right government with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), the big winners of the day who had their best showing ever increasing their vote total by some 50 percent over their previous showing. These results will catapult the openly gay FDP leader Guido Westerwelle as Germany's next foreign minister.

Despite the historic achievement of Herr Westerwelle, Germans will remember the 2009 elections as ushering in a political realignment with an increasingly splintered and perhaps disinterested if not disenchanted German electorate. Voter turnout was 72.5 percent, a record low. The two largest parties, the CDU and the SPD, saw their share of the vote fall from 69.4 percent in 2005 to just 56.1 percent. In 2002, the CDU and the SPD took 77 percent of the vote. Though the CDU lost a 1.5 percent share, the SPD, Europe's oldest working class party, saw its vote tally fall by 11.5 percent. It was the worst decline ever by a party in a German parliamentary election.

The Social Democrats' chancellor candidate, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, called the election night "a bitter defeat" for his party. The SPD is a now a soulless and frankly spineless party in search of itself, having abandoned its working class roots, forgoing its leftist credentials and having adopted policies that alienated its core constituency.

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